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Empowering Student Voices: Using Short Films and Photography to Promote Climate Action

Participate and share

Participate and share : Poster

Thursday, December 3, 12:00–1:00 pm PST (Pacific Standard Time)

Dr. Elizabeth Crawford  
Cleary Vaughan-Lee  

Explore human interest stories about the world’s climate crisis and how students can take action. Walk away with practical projects, youth-led ideas, and tools to foster empathy and global citizenship.

Audience: Curriculum/district specialists, Teachers, Teacher education/higher ed faculty
Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices useful
Attendee device specification: Smartphone: Windows, Android, iOS
Laptop: Chromebook, Mac, PC
Tablet: Android, iOS, Windows
Participant accounts, software and other materials: Padlet
Topic: Instructional design & delivery
Grade level: PK-12
Subject area: Social studies, Science
ISTE Standards: For Students:
Global Collaborator
  • Students use collaborative technologies to work with others, including peers, experts or community members, to examine issues and problems from multiple viewpoints.
Empowered Learner
  • Students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.
Knowledge Constructor
  • Students build knowledge by actively exploring real-world issues and problems, developing ideas and theories and pursuing answers and solutions.

Proposal summary

Purpose & objective

The challenge:
Climate change can be a difficult global issue to address in the classroom. How can we harness the power of media for students to learn about the climate crisis? How can we challenge students to take action? There are powerful stories around the world which document how our world is rapidly changing.

Exposing students to diverse, global stories can encourage students to learn about individuals and communities on the planet impacted by climate change.

We will provide participants with climate change examples and stories, collaborate in analyzing them, share how youth can take action, and provide tools for youth to create their own climate change stories.

Purpose and Objectives:
The purpose of this interactive lecture is to offer educators multiple strategies to teach about climate change.

Using human-centered stories, participants will learn how to foster empathy and changes in perspective.

Student action projects will be highlighted to communicate and model how to build knowledge and awareness about climate change and transfer learning to take action.

At the completion of the session, participants will walk away with climate change stories and tools, including ready-to-use lessons and activities, to implement in their classrooms in a variety of grade levels and subject areas.


5 minutes: Welcome. Opening exercise to explore prior thoughts about climate change using Padlet. Display responses.

5 minutes: Introductions to explore transformative learning experiences based on presenters’ research and practice.

20 minutes: Present an overarching question and case study examples via a gallery walk. Participants will engage with various types of media.

10 minutes: Participants debrief in small groups.

8 minutes: Present additional ways to engage learners, including project-based learning and global collaboration projects.

8 minutes: Padlet activity responding to questions: How and why did thinking change? How might authentic stories be powerful tools for transforming thinking and provoking action?

4 minutes: Conclusion and wrap up.

Supporting research

Karpudewan, M., Wolff-Michael, R., & Bin Abdullah, M. N. S. (2015). Enhancing primary school students' knowledge about global warming and environmental attitude using climate change activities. International Journal of Science Education, 37(1), 31-54. DOI: 10.1080/09500693.2014.958600

Kumler, L. M., & Vosburg-Bluem, B. (2014). Climate change in the social studies classroom: A “why” and “how to” guide using the C3 framework. Social Education, 78(5), 225–229.

Rethinking Schools. A People's Curriculum for the Earth: Teaching Climate Change and the Environmental Crisis.

The Global Goals for Sustainable Development. (n.d.). Goal 13: Climate action. Retrieved from

Van Zee, E., Grobart, E., Roberts-Harris, D. (2016). Journal of College Science Teaching, 45(3).

Vaughan-Lee, C. (2019). The power of immersive storytelling: A tool for transformative learning. Childhood Education, 95(3), 23-31.

More [+]


Cleary Vaughan-Lee, Global Oneness Project

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